Farewell Kenneth McKellar, quite a dude in his day. He even has his own page on NME.com. Of course I am from the generation that got very snobbish about people like Kenneth, Andy Stewart, Jimmie MacGregor, etc. They were the distorted, White Heather Club view of Scotland, weren't they? But who couldn't smile at Ally Bally or Donald Whaur's Yer Troosers? They brought the Dundee music hall, the Glasgow street song and the odd travellers ballad to the nation in the early days of television. They kept alive a folk tradition, however sanitized and brylcreemed their interpretation might have been. Is our modern, urban sneering at such artists just another facet of the Scottish cringe? The Irish don't get all acerbic about The Dubliners or The Furey Brothers. Who is to say McKellar is any less an authentic strand of our culture than Peter McDougall's wino plays, The Proclaimers' hit singles, Rab C Nesbitt's musings or Billy Connolly's best routines? It's a camp strand, but also strangely unifying and positive. Today we have a National Theatre of Scotland, Celtic Connections and more arts festivals than you can throw a Peter Howson screenprint at. But where are the icons of popular culture in Scotland that have replaced the men in kilts? Sometimes, I struggle to think.
Click here to read Sarah Nelson's obituary of the great man in Go Lassie Go